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iCAT Project Methodology

The iCAT project will use a methodology that employs a business process driven approach to ensure that CWU’s critical business processes are the factors that drive major decisions, not the software.  This methodology, termed Propel, is grounded in standard project management practices and contains five phases.  Through careful project management and progressing through the accepted methodology phases, the work is accomplished in an orderly progression.

PHASE 1  - Plan and Discover
The Plan and Discover phase sets the foundation for a successful implementation by putting the necessary standards and tools in place for use throughout the project as well as developing strategies that will drive the rest of the project.  These include the following activities:

  • Finalizing scope;
  • Identifying decision makers;
  • Determining how issues will be documented and escalated; and
  • Assigning roles and responsibilities. 

Key deliverables during this phase is work with the business process owners, functional experts, and other members of the staff to gather, organize and evaluate the “current business process” and system requirements as they currently exist.  These “as is” business processes will be refined as the project progresses to become the reflection of their business processes based on the new system.

Discoveries made during these activities give a “preview” of how business processes fit the proposed solution.  This refines the structure of the detailed fit/gap sessions that occur in the next phase.

PHASE 2  - Analyze and Design
During the Analyze and Design project phase, the team will use the “as is” business processes developed in the previous phase and tie them to the functionality of the system to be certain that all current requirements can be met.  This activity takes place in formal meetings attended by key stakeholders, knowledgeable staff and functional experts.  These meetings are called Interactive Design & Prototyping (IDP) sessions.  During these sessions gaps may be identified between the system requirements and the ability of the new system to handle a process.  Alternatives to solve the “gaps” will be discussed and the resolution will be chosen.  During these detailed fit/gap sessions, a demo system is created as a “prototype,” so a version of the system will be available to carry into the next project phase. 

PHASE 3  - Configure and Develop
During the Configure and Develop phase all of the items identified for change or development in the Analyze and Design phase are the focus. While the Technical team makes changes to the system, the Functional team identifies all of the setup values and uses them to configure the system. Together, the Functional and Technical teams map the data and terminology from the current system to the new solution. Once these activities are complete, conversion activities may begin (if required), programs can be written, forms and procedure manuals can be developed or updated, and training materials will be developed. Finally, as the Technical team completes their tasks, identified staff will be asked to review any customizations and unit test them to make sure that they function as requested. 

PHASE 4  - Test and Train
Even though the development work units were individually unit tested in Phase 3, system/integration, performance, and user acceptance testing are conducted to ensure that the new system will meet the business requirements. Additionally, end-user training will be delivered in this phase, just before delivery of the new process. 

PHASE 5  - Deploy and Optimize
This phase ensures that the system is ready for production. Key tasks include planning for cutover and actually executing the go-live plan. After go-live, support of the production system begins and a quality review of the project will be conducted. The Functional team will be asked to participate in activities including the following:

  • Go-live readiness assessment;
  • Validation of go-live; and
  • Project quality review.


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